MIAMI — Four people familiar with the case say the Trump administration announced indictments against Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro and members of his inner circle for effectively converting Venezuela into a criminal enterprise at the service of drug traffickers and terrorist groups.
The sweeping action is bound to ratchet up tensions between Washington and Caracas as the spread of the coronavirus threatens to collapse a health system and oil-dependent economy driven deep into the ground by years of corruption and U.S. sanctions.
Attorney General Bill Barr announced Thursday that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro with narco-terrorism. Barr also announced other Maduro administration officials had been charged with corruption and drug trafficking.
According to Barr, the Maduro regime is supporting an arm of FARC — the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — that is controlling drug trade in Venezuela. For years, FARC was in open conflict with the Colombian government before reaching a peace agreement in 2017.
The Justice Department claims that Maduro is supporting drug trade routes through Central America and the Caribbean.
The Justice Department says that Maduro has been working with the FARC for 20 years.
This story is breaking and will be updated.